Since the last post, I have received a lot of support from other iphoneographers or friends concerning my response to Ivan and his reblog of my picture annotated by his good offices. I fully thank them for their involvments.
Even if I feeled offended at first time by the practice, it was not my intention to trigger a personal war, neither to set myself as a defender of any cause. I was waiting for a honest and much more balanced answer from Ivan - who is furthermore an accomplished, cultured and very good photographer - and he promptly answered me, with illustrations and convictions.
I’ve given a lot of thought before publishing my answer on this blog - for it’s not in my habits to bring a disagreement in the open - but it seemed fair, compared to the initial reblog, and above all, I wanted to share my thoughts about iphoneography and ‘real’ photography at the moment, assuming there are not definitive.
Here is the Ivan’s answer, it will close the disagreement in the open at this point, while I hope our constructive exchanges are only beginning.
Dear Jean Christophe,
I must admit that I have reacted rather strongly.
I’m afraid I have offended you, and on a private level, I regret it. I have not seen the body of your work and saw this particular image on another blog. I owe you an explanation.
It is odd that such a harmless photograph could have generated such a violent reaction. I’m afraid you have been the victim of my growing discomfort towards these two recent phenomema, the massive production and distribution of images.
I am not the one to say what should be art and what should not. I have never said so.
I am not the keeper of any temple except my own. Like any artist, I suppose.
I do see with a certain despair that argentic photography, the way we knew it, is a lost battle simply because the industry doesn’t provide anymore the chemicals and the same quality paper that we took for granted and I must face the fact that a certain photography is gone for good in public indifference.
I understand that on a personal level, you liked this “ancient photography” effect, a cultural archetype as you put it, it shows your attachment to it, so in this regard, my wrath is probably misplaced. However it tends to convey a message to people who are not as educated as you are, hence the word ‘perverse’, that argentic is useless since digital can do the same. Even with a mobile phone. It can’t. Most people don’t see this, especially on a laptop screen.
Digital is not to be blamed. Digital is liberating, it is cheap and practical and has never been per se a limitation to creativity. As you rightly point, Salgado is no less Salgado when he chooses to use a digital camera, though I regret it.
BUT YES I do think that the essence of photography is paper, its size, weight, grain and shine. Even digital photography ends up on paper. I also like it in books but never as much as in real. What do you see on a screen ? Has one seen the ballet Le Sacre du Printemps for watching it on Utube?
Which would bring us to another long debate about how photography is consumed … and how this ‘love’ for photography is actually killing the trade and ultimately photographers. Less digital more paper is not a posture, my friend, it’s bread and butter.
I will not argue on the difference between a copy and an imitation, given the choice I’d rather have the original.
Well we are in the 21 st century with new technologies, new tools for artists and we can both agree to hope for greatness whatever shape it takes.
One thing is sure La concierge n’est plus dans l’escalier. Nor in the courtyard. Hopefully you have noticed it too and your photographs are often very good.